This is my favorite time of year! The weather is chilly, I get to wear jeans and sweaters and drink lots of piping hot coffee; and perhaps most important, is playoff baseball. While my team was eliminated (still bitter) I love the atmosphere of playoff baseball. Every game, every inning, every at bat, every pitch seem to matter so much more. I recently published a promotion video from my presentation for The Baltimore Business Journal. In that video I was fortunate to collect three different testimonials from audience members. One of those audience members called me today to talk sales and networking (some of my favorite subjects) and it got me to thinking about the connection between LinkedIn and Baseball. Let's explore.,,,
A 300 AVERAGE WILL PUT YOU IN THE HALL OF FAME
Think about this for a moment. As a hitter, if you have 10 at bats and you fail to hit the ball 7 out of 10 times and do so over the course of a career of 15 years or more, you are a sure fire, first ballot hall of famer. What does this have to do with LinkedIn? I encourage people to ask their fellow connections to introduce them to people of influence on a regular basis. The number one objection I get from the audience is "I've done that and it doesn't work." My response is: consistency, you need consistency. If you use this practice on a regular basis it will gain results.
A QUICK CASE STUDY
I recently decided I wanted to do more work with a non profit I had contracted with in the past. My primary point of contact had left and I was back to square one. Sales 101, I started at the top. When I looked up the CEO, I found I had 35 mutual connections with her. I asked each one of those connections if they would introduce me. I explained I had done work for them before and wanted to renew the relationship. Guess what, about 1/3 of the requests were ignored, they gave no response. Another 1/3 of them gave me the standard "gee Mike, I don't know her very well." The final 1/3 sent notes to her introducing me. By the time the fifth person made an Introduction the CEO responded and told me who I needed to speak with (she also told me, my friends could stop introducing us). In sales, the primary objective is to get the sale. To get the sale, you must get the appointment. This is an ironclad method for setting appointments.
IT'S ABOUT FUNDAMENTALS
The biggest reason most sales people don't hit their number, is fundamentals. I can personally attest that I have ridden on the "sales roller coaster." You set up three or four big meetings and you slow down on the prospecting. Then, once those sales are over, you notice you have an empty pipeline. So you fill your days with prospecting until you have three or four more big meetings and the cycle repeats itself. When you talk to any major league ball player, they can tell you some variation of the following story "after the game tonight, I went down to the cage and took about one hundred swings in the cage. I was out of sync and needed to get back."
IT'S ALSO ABOUT COACHING
Every major league team has multiple coaches. You have a coach for hitting, a coach for pitching, a coach for defensive position. Think about it, every player in that dugout has played thousands of baseball games, but they have other people watching and advising them on a daily basis. While your sales manager should be a coach for you, they are not enough. LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for perspective and advice. I published a post a few months back about daily habits and one of my LinkedIn groups, published it this week. The feedback has been tremendous. Numerous people have commented on the post to offer ideas I had not considered. I also gained several new valuable contacts that will yield future business, all because I asked for advice on getting better.
CALL TO ACTION, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU
A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege to sit in on a training session with Walter Bond. In his session, he told a valuable story. When he started his business, his fundamental was making 25 calls a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, asking people to buy. He went on to say it could also be 25 emails. The goal was simple; consistent engagement.
I want to put my challenge forth to you, my readers. Pick your daily number (5, 10, 25, 50) and let that be your daily number for how many introductions you request. In my example, it could be, you ask 35 people to introduce you to the same person. Create your list of target accounts, search out the decision makers and start asking for help. Do this consistently for 2 weeks and then follow up to tell me what your results.
Wanna talk more sales or LinkedIn with me? Maybe you want to talk about leadership or public speaking? Contact me today, I love talking, almost as much as I love to listen. email@example.com 443-808-1670.